For decades, a rumor about a woman supposedly seeking emergency medical care after using a frozen hotdog to masturbate has circulated online. In 1995, for instance, Snopes documented this anecdote:
At a party last week this girl gets really drunk and really horny. The guys at the party can’t satisfy her and she starts looking for an object to do the trick. Her attention turns to the kitchen where she finds a frozen hot dog. She gets a little too excited and the hot dog breaks in two with one piece remaining inside. She has to be taken to the hospital to have it removed and is quite embarrassed.
The story has morphed to add details, or change the woman's purported circumstances, over time. Various versions include:
- Though the weiner is most often retrieved from the vagina, it’s sometimes fished out of the girl’s rectum.
- In one especially disgusting version, after failing to get the hot dog out by herself, the girl leaves it in there for weeks. A burning sensation in her nether regions encourages her to seek medical help, and when the bits of hot dog are pulled out, they’re discovered to be crawling with maggots. (This expression of the hot dog legend mirrors another urban legend about mayonnaise.)
- The girl’s masturbatory experiments usually take place when she’s alone, not at a party. She’s often characterized as stuck up and haughty, someone who routinely turns down dates.
- An unusual variation has the hot dog being returned to the refrigerator after doing its service and the girl’s brother later scarfing it down, unaware of its history.
- A related legend stars not a hotdog but a Coke bottle. In that tale, the girl requires medical attention to break the seal the suction has caused.
Though some tellings of this story date back to the early 1960s, the legend has yet to be documented.
Boys (in my experience it’s almost always guys, very rarely girls, doing the recounting) generally tell it as a story they heard back in high school or junior high. The star of the piece is usually said to be someone the teller either went to school with or a girl who attended a nearby school.
Underlying the tale is the standard “embarrassing sexual doings brought to light” theme: we find out the girl has been masturbating through the plot device of her requiring medical assistance to dislodge the item she’d been pleasuring herself with. A similar urban legend about a girl who uses a bottle rather than a hotdog relies on the same plot point. In both tales, the hospital trip is a necessary element because without it no one would know what these sexually curious gals had been up to. Both are "perils of masturbation" stories and when told among girls impart the moral, “This could happen to you.” Similarly, the “promiscuous cheerleader” legend calls upon the meme of kinky sexual behavior revealed through the need for medical intervention. Doctor/patient confidentiality does not appear to factor into many urban legends.
Obviously, the hot dog in this particular legend is there because of its somewhat resemblance to a penis.
This legend probably originated as a salacious tale from a more chauvinistic era, one intended to put a socially-successful, overly-snobby or unattainable girl in her place. By portraying her as overcome by desire, she’s taken off her pedestal and made human; by having the handling of her physical urges lead to an embarrassment, she’s brought down to a level where boys who’d lusted after her can now view themselves as somewhat her superior and thus need no longer feel inadequate in her presence.
In a larger sense, such legends work to reassure adolescent boys that all girls are sex objects and there isn’t one of them they can’t be having wild fantasies about. When one can believe that even the highest of the high have gotten down with a hot dog, graphic day dreams about any girl no longer seem out of place. Telling — and believing — such tales is a way of combating fear of rejection by building up bravado. The frightening, all-powerful girl is made an object of derision, thus working to dispel a boy’s fear of asking her (or any other girl) out.
Rumors like this can do their target a lot of damage. In 1993, the first suit in the nation seeking damages from a school or school official for peer harassment was filed against the Petaluma City School District. According to the suit, a seventh grader was taunted daily by dozens of students after one boy spread the rumor she had masturbated with a hot dog. Failing to get any help through the system, her family had to uproot and leave town. Though a suit against the school counselor failed, in 1996, the school system settled with the girl for $250,000 without admitting any wrongdoing.